Blood Simple - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Blood Simple Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 5, 2015
Watching a directorial debut is a fascinating practice, partially because you can see a filmmaker's trademarks already fully formed. With that in mind, Blood Simple is most definitely a Coen Brothers film, parts dark and deliriously funny. The Coen Brothers have proven themselves to be the best directors out there when it comes to "crime gone wrong" films, but it still manages to be shocking that they already had it down pat right out of the gate. The less you know about Blood Simple going in, the better. Just know that it's stylish, funny, and written with an efficiency that most screenplays lack. Pile on some great performances on top of that and you have a debut film on the level of Reservoir Dogs.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2013
Blood Simple is the Coen Brothers big debut, and it gives us a glimpse of what the two directors would come to create later on in their career. With a tightly written script, and a stunning cast of varied talent, the Coen Brothers crafts a stunning picture that delivers a powerful story that is engaging from start to finish. I thoroughly loved this film, and Blood Simple boasts the quality craftsmanship that would make each Coen Brothers film so unique in the cinematic medium. The direction is immaculate and it has a nice pacing that keeps you involved from the first frame onwards. The Coen Brothers make excellent films, and for this debut, they set the standards high, and have made one of the best crime films that I have seen. Fans of their films should definitely check this one out as it is quite thrilling, well acted and has a truly wonderful story that only the Coens could have brought to the screen. Film fans will definitely want to see this one, as it is truly an exciting, well layered and suspenseful film that will keep you interested from start to finish. This is among the finest debuts from any director and I personally it was only rivalled by Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. This is a film that relies on a well structured story and a great cast to entertain the viewer, and it is a fairly basic principle that pays off very well. Blood Simple is a flawless picture that launched the careers of the Coen Brothers, and it's clear with what you see on camera, that these directors would go on to become very successful and hone their craft even further. Blood Simple is a brilliant piece of work from two incredible filmmakers.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2010
Blood sickening and terse, with a story as old as time but told so elegantly and with so much fear, the Coen brothers shock and awe with their first feature film. The actual plotting of the film, the climax, the reveal, and the bitter platitudes of enraged performances make this film great. The characters themselves are not all that engaging compared to some of the more frightening and thrilling scenes presented. The story isn't all too original either, stemming from a jealous husband (Hedaya), out to ruin the life of his former wife (McDormand) and her new lover (Getz), a former bartender at his establishment. The film's originality stems from a private eye named Visser (Walsh) whose double cross leads to a series of misunderstandings and terror stricken scenes between the lovers as they try to outsmart the gumshoe to ensure their own survival. After Visser is hired by the husband to kill the couple and get rid of their bodies, it becomes a blood war between all four of them. Several major characters' lives are transformed in a matter of seconds, but the film moves through it, keeping the biting terror on their faces but leaving behind the connotations, the reasoning that says it will all be okay. There's a point of no return which gets guiltily crossed time and again, but it is each character's death or injury that shocks time and again. There is nothing gratuitous or gory about what the Coens show onscreen, but there is one scene in particular that has been named as one of the scariest in reviewer's lists and I am inclined to agree. Though not touched with the exactness and flair of later Coen brother's films it is a step in the right direction, and a great inclination to their later talents and expansion in genre and technique.
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2012
The Coen Bros. blasted on the scene with this amazing debut. It must be something about Texas that brings out the best in them (i.e. No Country For Old Men).
paul o.
Super Reviewer
½ January 16, 2012
Its pretty damn good. The pace isn't fast but not too slow as well. The action is there but never consistent. The story takes you off your feet along with fantastic acting from a genius cast.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2011
At its release, it's said to have received enormous response and that it shattered the box-office records thence. I tend to keep a safe distance from Coen brothers owing to my experiences in the past (and intuition, to an extent), but I did find their last film passable. So I thought to give this a chance. After all, it was so highly rated. But this thrilling love story was out of my bounds of taste. Except for the character of Visser, I kept struggling to find something involving in the movie. Feel free to blame me for not enjoying the movie, but, like it or not, that happens to be the fact. Fans (whether it be of the movie or the Coens), try not to shatter the cussing records. Just saying; now the ball is in your court.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2006
When a sleazy private eye becomes entangled in a love triangle between a bar owner, his wife and employee, events take a sinister and bloody turn. The Coen brothers first film features a cast of excellent character actors rather than Hollywood "stars". The low budget feel actually adds to the atmosphere of the piece, a seediness permeating the proceedings; the burial scene is particularly unsettling. Barry Sonnenfeld's photography is stark and steeped in shadows following the best traditions of film noir, and the plot has a grittiness that has more in common with the hard boiled noirs of the 40s and 50s than more contemporary thrillers. In some ways it is their most mainstream film as it lacks the quirkiness that became their trademark, but it's a fine debut.
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2011
The Coen Brothers exploded onto the scene with this intensely atmospheric and cynical debut. While there isn't much in the way of character development (or really plot for that matter) it's still testament to Joel Coen's directing skills because you love watching the characters operate. It's fun to look back and see the Coen sensibilities being so confidently created. "Blood Simple" is enticing and thrilling, a must for Coen fans, a must for 80s film history and a must for anyone who loves a nifty thriller. It's also an interesting point in the neverending debate of 'what really is film noir?'
Super Reviewer
April 18, 2008
An exceptionally good film, made all the more impressive by the fact that it is the Coen brothers FIRST.

While the basic premise is simple...everything above and beyond that is anything BUT.

It's always an (uncomfortable) pleasure to watch as the Coens develope a fairly simple plot point, into a unmercifully complicated and often horriffic mess.

Beautifully shot and well acted, it is definitely "one to see" for film buffs.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2011
A suspenseful debut for the Coen Brothers that sets the pace for future films, most notably No Country for Old Men, arguably their best film. Knowing it's a directors debut, makes it that much more impressive. I didn't particularly like the ending though. Some parts failed to keep me interested, others entranced me (the entire burying scene, and the climax in the apartment). But the ending ruined that scene, unfortunately. Other than that, a more-than solid thriller, thanks to the Coen's obvious and remarkable style. Keep them coming, please.
Super Reviewer
½ August 23, 2010
One of the most impressive film debuts without question, the Coen Bros. are able to establish a dark atmosphere for their simple plan story gone wrong - all with superb casting and relentlessly suspenseful scenes. Although it takes a bit to get into (it starts rather slowly), once one does it's impossible to look away. Every decision made is realistic if sometimes foolish in hindsight, but the Coens fully realize the state of panic and excel at showing its repercussions. The ending of this movie packs a visceral blow that is unprecedented given the nature of one of the key characters, but this change, like many other twists in this movie, is a welcome surprise. Although "Fargo" remains their ultimate masterpiece (seamlessly blending black humor and violence together, 'Simple' tries but sways more to the "violence" side), this is still a film definitely worth checking out in order to see how two of the more important film-makers of this era got started.
Super Reviewer
March 17, 2010
Just an amazing debut and still one of the best movies that have come from the Coen Brothers. You can't go wrong with a Film Noir plot and a David Lynch atmosphere. However, this is completely their style when it comes to the look and execution. There's some really wonderful cinematography and amazing colors. For a lower busget film, this has some great performances. In my opinion, Frances McDormand has never been better and this is easily my favorite performance of hers. Considering this is the first Coen Brother's movie, it is beyond impressive. Even then they knew exactly what they wanted and how to get it.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2010
Easily one of the best and most stunning debuts ever. Great storytelling, technical mastery, and gripping drama. This is a rare gem and quite possibly one of the best films of the 80's.
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2007
An excellent thriller from the Coens.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2010
Blood Simple is the tale of lies, deceit, and a lot of misunderstandings. A jealous boyfriend (Dan Hedaya, the guy with an almost impossibly ridiculous looking chin dimple) hires a (very odd) P.I. to trail his girlfriend and it turns out she's cheating on him with one of his employees. He's so crazed with jealousy, he's capable of anything, even murder. An early Coen brothers film that shows a filmmaking style still in development. A lot of key elements that would go into making a great film like, "No Country For Old Men" or The Big Lebowski are present, they just don't seem to totally coalesce as of yet. McDormand seems a little green in this, her first big screen role and Getz is a poor man's Nicolas Cage, lacking the depth to play off McDormand very convincingly early on in the film. Actually, I'm not sure if it's the actors or the screenplay that's at fault. The film does pick up quite a bit in the second half however, and the Coen magic does eventually come to life. By the time "Blood Simple" gets rolling to it's "hitchcock" conclusion, it winds up being a great little thriller. Plus, we get an amazing performances by M. Emmet Walsh as the psychotic private eye. It's odd that a film can have such a complete turn around, when the first ten minutes seem like a made-for-showtime tv movie and the last half is top quality Coen brothers entertainment, but sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. In this case, the good far outweighs the bad.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2009
Blood Simple has many of the ingredients of the Coens later films, and they come together to make a movie that's both simple and satisfying. There are the memorable and thoroughly original characters, and the non-descript, but unmistakably American locales. There's the sudden violence, the complete mastery of tension and suspense, and the dark humor that comes completely out of the blue. There's the constant theme of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, coincidence and characters being caught up in events that they don't understand. If these are some of the things that attracteded you to No Country for Old Men or Fargo, then Blood Simple is basically a special present, just for you.

I was a bit underwhelmed until the middle of the story, but it eventually caught me as tightly as anything else the Coens have done. I have to highlight the suspense and tension once again, it really is remarkable how I was basically holding my breath several times during the movie. We're talking Hitchcockian levels of anxiety for the characters. Any fan of Joel and Ethan is in for a real treat, that I can promise.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2008
The Coen formula is simple but effective. Take a misdeed, a sin if you will, and let it set off a chain of events that eventually leads to an ultimate redemption and a righting of the wrong. It's a cycle that, in the hands of the masters, never gets old and never seems cliche'.
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2007
Fairly slow moving, yet the last 10 minutes completely made up for it. A young Frances McDormand clearly shows her talents for a leading role and with and with this being an early Coen Bro?s film, there are certainly hints of their promising future here.

I like the storyline, just thought it could have been made a little more suspenseful perhaps thoughout the first part.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2007
Tense, gripping thriller with shady duplicitous characters. Obvious forerunner to Fargo and No Country. The late M. Emmet Walsh is particularly good as the not-so-stupid hitman.
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